No matter how many horror or slasher movies come out, there are some that will always stand above them all as an iconic part of horror film history. At the top of the list is certainly Friday the 13th, and its first sequel, Friday the 13th Part 2. First coming out in 1980 and 1981, these films were considered game changers in the genre.
The films both center around a group of camp counselors at Camp Crystal Lake. In the first film, audiences were left on the edge of their seats as the young adults at the camp were picked off one by one by a mysterious killer.
The killer was ultimately revealed to be Mrs. Voorhees, and it’s her son, Jason, who ends up becoming the villainous killer in the second film. This lead to one of the most iconic killers in horror film’s pop culture history, and from there a franchise was born.
It’s been close to four decades since these films first came out, and they’ve been followed by nine more movies, numerous video games, and even comic books. But even the biggest fans of the franchise may not know all the crazy stuff that was happening behind the scenes on these first two films. So, let’s rewind the clock, and take a look back at the movies that started it all.
Adrienne King’s life after Alice
Adrienne King’s character, Alice, was the triumphant hero of the first film, and the only one to survive Mrs. Voorhees murder spree. Many people were disappointed she such a small role in the sequel, but it was actually King’s demand that made the part that way. Her character had become so popular after the first film that she, unfortunately, attracted the attention of a stalker, which led to her decision to take a step back from acting for a long time. In the meantime, she married her husband Richard Hassanien, started a film production company, and pursued other forms of art. Eventually, she returned to show business by doing voice over work for several films, and then ultimately returned to the screen in 2010 with the movie, Psychic Experiment.
Betsy’s break down
Betsy Palmer played the the infamous villain of the film, Mrs. Voorhees, but in reality she initially wasn’t thrilled about the idea of doing a slasher movie. She later admitted in an interview that when she first read the script for Friday the 13th she thought it was terrible, and that no one would ever end up watching it. However, her car had recently broken down and she needed the funds to fix it. As we all know, the movie went on to see huge success and became an iconic part of pop culture. Despite her initial misgivings, Palmer became proud to have participated in the franchise, and appreciated all the fans she had gained from it.
Baking the effects
The makeup effects for the movie franchise in the early ‘80s went on to become legendary in the film, all thanks to the incredible Tom Savini. But some of the effects and prosthetics weren’t easy to rig up, and some of the latex material needed to actually be baked to get the right texture. Since the movie was being filmed at an actual camp, Savini took advantage of the camp’s pizza ovens and used them to bake his prosthetics. Well, whatever he did worked, and we can’t imagine the film without his touch.
Jeannine Taylor’s career
Jeannine Taylor played the lovely Marcie, one of the counselors who meets her demise. Not long after her time on Friday the 13th, Taylor opted to leave the acting world behind, and instead pursued a career in business. She later admitted that she never quite saw herself as an actress, and felt like her looks didn’t measure up to the other girls. She ended up becoming a very successful marketing manager for The Institutional Investor. While Taylor appreciates the fans she still has from the film, she still feels out of place in the showbiz world.
More isn’t always better
When the first Friday the 13th was released in 1980, no one could have predicted the series of movies it would spawn. As of now it has 11 in the series, but the original screenwriter Victor Miller isn’t so into them. The big twist of the original film is that it was Jason’s mother, Mrs. Voorhees who was the true villain all along, and to Miller this was very important. The films that followed took Jason from victim to villain, and in a way left behind the original story that Miller had created surrounding a very disturbed, but interesting, woman.
The telephone booth
Props are an important part of any movie, and in Friday the 13th Part 2, the props department built a fake telephone booth that was a big feature in the film. However, it seems that the prop department did their job a little too well, and people kept thinking it was real. In the days before cell phones, telephone booths were an easy way to call someone when you were out and about. Several people tried to use the fake booth, and were very frustrated to learn it was fake, much to the great amusement of the film crew.
The beginning of Kevin Bacon
Today Kevin Bacon is a well known and successful actor in Hollywood, but back in 1980 most people still had no clue who he was. His role as Jack in Friday the 13th was one of his earliest roles, predating his explosion of fame after Footloose. His death scene in the film was one of the most difficult to do, and almost didn’t work. It took hours to set up, and involved an entire fake neck for him to be stabbed through. But it was all worth it since the scene has become iconic.
Slap in the face
There’s a scene in the film when Mrs. Voorhees slaps Alice, so Betsy Palmer told Adrienne King they should rehearse it. However, King didn’t expect that Palmer would actually hit her, and she ended up hitting King so hard that she cried! Palmer was used to doing such stunts in theater, where you really hit a person, and had to be told that in film acting you miss. Nevertheless, King greatly admired Palmer, and considered her a beloved mentor. Years later, they continued to keep in touch and even attended horror film conventions together before Palmer’s death in 2015.
Amy Steel joined the cast of Friday the 13th Part 2 as the very memorable Ginny, who survives Jason’s kill spree. Originally it had been intended for her character to die, but producers decided someone needed to survive. They loved Steel’s performance, and wanted to sign her up for part three. Her agent told her not to, stating she’d get better roles, and she chose to listen. Years later she shared that she regretted that decision. While she did get a few other roles here and there, she largely left acting and instead became a marriage and family therapist.
The ax mishap
Ginny and Jason have a pretty epic fight scene in Friday the 13th Part 2. After stabbing him with a machete, she then attempts to bring her ax down on his pickaxe. It’s a great scene, but while filming it Amy Steel accidentally brought her ax down on Steve Dash’s, who played Jason, finger. He had to go to the emergency room, but still had the prop machete and fake blood on his shoulder, which gave the ER staff quite the scare. But Dash never held it against Steel, and the two still enjoy speaking at horror conventions together.
The real camp
The filmmakers made Camp Crystal Lake feel so real by filming at a real camp. The real place is called Camp No-Be-Bo-Sco, which is located in Blairsville, New Jersey. The camp is actually a camp for Boy Scouts, and is still in operation today. In order to make use of the camp, the film production had to agree to make a sizable donation to the Boy Scouts organization. Today the camp totally owns up to their part in the franchise, and has dedicated a room filled with paraphernalia from the movie for people to enjoy, plus offers paid tours of locations from the film.
When producer and director Sean Cunningham saw the slasher film, Halloween, in 1978 he knew exactly what he wanted to do for his next film. From a glimpse, the two films don’t appear to have much in common beyond both being in the same genre, but Friday the 13th took a lot of inspiration from Halloween, and used it as the driving force behind their movie. In fact, in New Jersey, right next to the town that inspired Halloween, is a town called Voorhees. Coincidence?
Last surprise scare
After poor Alice has survived Mrs. Voorhees violent rampage, she takes a boat out on the water, only to be surprised by an attack from the boy in the water, Jason himself. Originally, this scene wasn’t in the script, and the idea came later as they were filming. Tom Savini has taken credit for the idea, saying he was inspired by the movie Carrie. But Ron Kurz, one of the screenwriters, has also claimed credit for the idea, and said he was the one who made Jason more monstrous instead of a normal boy.
Robbi Morgan as Annie
One of the most memorable kills happens towards the beginning of the film when young Annie makes the fatal mistake of hitchhiking with the killer. The actress, Robbi Morgan, did a few other roles in the ‘80s, but like many of her co-stars, took a long hiatus from acting, only returning to the screen in 2015 with the horror film Dutch Hollow. Morgan’s role in Friday the 13th was small, and it only took her two days on set to film it. Nevertheless, it gained her a huge cult following. In 1987 she married game show host, Mark L. Walberg, and they have two children together.
Lauren-Marie Taylor’s fright
During the shooting of the second film, most of the cast stayed in cabins at the camp. Lauren-Marie Taylor, who played Vickie, was given quite the scare when her cast mates pranked her by scratching on her cabin window at night. She got so scared she hyperventilated, and eventually passed out! But despite all the hijinks, she enjoyed her time in the franchise, and has appeared at horror conventions to discuss it. She continued acting during the ‘80s, and then went on to host a craft show. In 1983, she married John Didrichsen, and they have three children together.
While filming at Camp No-Be-Bo-Sco, the cast and crew were fairly isolated and didn’t have much around them for entertainment. But it just so happens that rock star Lou Reed, from the Velvet Underground, happened to own a farm next to the camp. Seeing the filming going on, Reed went over to the set to hang out with cast and crew, and even brought his guitar to do some impromptu performances for them. The cast still look back on these performances as an incredible life experience.
Kristen Baker got spooked
Kristen Baker played Terri in Friday the 13th Part 2, one of Jason’s many victims. While filming, Baker had trouble separating the idea that she was just in a scary movie, and that nothing that was happening was real. She kept getting spooked on set, and later said that at times it felt like she was really all alone out in the dark forest. Outside of her brief acting career, Baker was a fairly successful print model, but left both acting and modeling behind in 1993. She is currently living in Los Angeles, California, and is working in a local art gallery.
Behind the sound
“Ki-ki-ki…ma-ma-ma…” Any fan of the film franchise knows those creepy sounds in the movie’s iconic soundtrack, and just hearing them is enough to give you chills. When the composer, Harry Manfredini, was first watching the footage of the film the moment that stuck out to him was when Mrs. Voorhees imitates her son’s voice saying, “Kill her, Mommy!” Manfredini took this line and used it in the soundtrack, creating those infamous sounds we all know today.
What would the Friday the 13th franchise be without Jason Voorhees? It’s almost unimaginable. But when Victor Miller was first writing the script, Jason’s original name was actually Josh. The name was eventually changed after Miller realized that Josh just didn’t have a very dangerous ring to it, and decided someone named Jason would be more believable as a threat. He also originally titled the movie, Long Night at Camp Blood, but director Sean Cunningham was already sold on naming it Friday the 13th.
Jumping the gun
Sean Cunningham knew he wanted to make a slasher horror film before he even read a script for it, but he didn’t have the funds for it. So, he started advertising it before it was officially given a green light. Since slasher movies were gaining popularity, and he had chosen a pretty clever title with Friday the 13th, word quickly spread that this was going to be the horror movie to beat all horror movie. It wasn’t long before financial backers started contacting Cunningham, expressing their interest in being part of the film.
The end of Alice
While Adrienne King was willing to play a small role in the second film, the filmmakers forgot to give her one very important thing, a script. So, all the lines you hear her saying at the beginning of the film while she’s on the phone are completely unscripted. On top of that, the ice pick they were using for her death scene was supposed to be retractable, but something went wrong and it didn’t retract, injuring King in the process. She later joked that for the second take they had to make sure to aim for the hole they had just put in her face.